Suspect still at large after allegedly striking Warwick police chief with vehicle

This body camera image shows Michael Martelle, the man accused of having intentionally struck Warwick Police Chief David Shoemaker twice while Shoemaker was assisting Sgt. John Stewart during a traffic stop on Tuesday.

This body camera image shows Michael Martelle, the man accused of having intentionally struck Warwick Police Chief David Shoemaker twice while Shoemaker was assisting Sgt. John Stewart during a traffic stop on Tuesday. COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF NORTHFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-23-2024 9:37 AM

WARWICK — Police Chief David Shoemaker is reportedly fine after a driver allegedly struck him twice intentionally during a traffic stop on Tuesday before fleeing to New Hampshire, where authorities say it appears he has left the area.

The chief was assisting Sgt. John Stewart at a traffic stop shortly before 3:20 p.m. when the driver — later identified by police as Michael Martelle — struck Shoemaker and fled north.

“[Shoemaker] is doing good,” said Jon Hall, chief of the neighboring Northfield Police Department, where Shoemaker also works part-time. “He’ll be back.”

Though efforts by the Greenfield Recorder to reach Shoemaker were unsuccessful, Hall said Shoemaker was working on this investigation on Wednesday.

“He’s in good spirits,” Hall said. “He said it just took a little of his faith out of human nature.”

Safety concerns forced officers to terminate their pursuit of the suspect and his passenger — later identified as Estrella Crespo — as the vehicle continued toward Hinsdale, New Hampshire. According to the Hinsdale Police Department’s Facebook page, officers responded to the area of Main Street and spotted the fleeing vehicle, which reportedly took off at a high rate of speed. The vehicle then crashed a short time later on Brattleboro Road, where Martelle and Crespo fled on foot.

Crespo was apprehended and charged with disobeying an officer. As it was unknown if Martelle had a weapon, a nearby school was instructed to shelter in place.

An update on the Hinsdale Police Department’s Facebook page shortly before 6 p.m. on Wednesday states police no longer believe Martelle is in the area, or at least not on foot. The post encourages people to remain vigilant and contact police with any sightings.

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Martelle is described as a white male with a medium build. He was last seen wearing black shorts and no shirt, according to the Hinsdale Police Department.

This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Hinsdale Police Detective David Upton at 603-336-5723.

Reach Domenic Poli at:
dpoli @recorder.com.